German leader condemns journalist’s killing as Turkey’s ruling party says Ankara will reveal ‘whatever happened’.
Saudi Arabia has admitted to the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
Khashoggi, a Saudi writer and dissident, entered the building on October 2 to obtain documentation certifying he had divorced his ex-wife. He never came out.
After two weeks of repeated denials that it had anything to do with his disappearance, the kingdom admitted on Saturday that the dissident journalist died in a “fist-fight” inside the consulate.
Here are the latest developments:
Saturday, October 20
France’s Le Drian condemns Khashoggi’s killing, calls for in-depth investigation
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said his country condemned the killing of Khashoggi and called for a thorough investigation into the incident.
“France condemns this murder in the strongest terms,” Le Drian said in a statement.
“The confirmation of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi’s death is a first step toward the establishment of the truth. However, many questions remain unanswered,” he added.
Le Drian added that those responsible for Khashoggi’s death should be held accountable.
Merkel condemns Khashoggi’s killing
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned Khashoggi’s killing in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and said explanations given so far of the circumstances surrounding his death were inadequate.
“We condemn this act in the strongest terms,” she and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a joint statement.
“We expect transparency from Saudi Arabia about the circumstances of his death […] The information available about events in the Istanbul consulate is inadequate.”
Expressing deep sympathy to Khashoggi’s friends and relatives, they said those responsible for his death must be held accountable.
Turkey will not accept ‘cover-up’ in Khashoggi case – AK Party spokesperson
Turkey will uncover the full details of Khashoggi’s killing using all possible means, a spokesperson for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said.
“Turkey will reveal whatever happened. Nobody should ever doubt it,” spokesperson Omer Celik was quoted as saying by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency.
“We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don’t accept anything remaining covered [up],” Celik added.
Turkish-Arab Media Association demands answers over Khashoggi killing
Turkish-Arab Media Association President Turan Kislakci said the group wants “true justice” for Khashoggi and the “authority that gave the orders” to kill the Saudi dissident punished.
“We need to know where Jamal’s body is […] and we want the rest of the world to know how it happened and what happened exactly,” Kislakci said in a statement to reporters outside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
Amnesty demands Saudi Arabia hand over Khashoggi’s body for independent autopsy
Amnesty International has called for an independent probe into Khashoggi’s killing and demanded Saudi Arabia “immediately produce” his body so an autopsy can be performed by forensic experts “in accordance with international standards”.
“The investigation findings by the Saudi authorities claiming that Khashoggi died as a result of a “fist-fight” inside the consulate are not trustworthy and marks an abysmal new low to Saudi Arabia’s human rights record,” Samah Hadid, Amnesty’s director of campaigns for the Middle East, said in a statement.
“His family and the world deserve the full truth about what happened to him, and those responsible, however high their rank or status, must face justice,” Hadid added.
“An independent investigation will be the only guarantee against what increasingly appears as a Saudi whitewash surrounding the circumstances of Khashoggi’s murder or any attempts by other governments to sweep the issue under the carpet to preserve lucrative arms deals and other business ties with Riyadh.”
European leaders heap skepticism on Saudi account of Khashoggi killing, call for clarity
European leaders have demanded further examination of Khashoggi’s killing after Saudi Arabia’s confession on Saturday that the 59-year-old writer and critic died during a “fist-fight” in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Saudi’s explanation of Khashoggi’s death.
Merkel said the “horrific events” had not been “cleared up”, Bloomberg reported.
“Of course we demand that they be cleared up,” Merkel added.
Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen also expressed scepticism over the Saudi’s account of Khashoggi’s death.
“The fact that the Saudis last night confirmed that he died, after previously insisting he left the consulate alive, shows that we haven’t been told the full truth, and we must insist on getting that,” Bloomberg quoted Rasmussen as saying.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said “a lot still remains uncertain” in the case.
“A lot still remains uncertain. What happened? How did he die? Who is responsible? I expect and I hope that all relevant facts will be clear as soon as possible … Thorough investigation is necessary,” Rutte told reporters in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen.
European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, meanwhile, called for an international investigation to examine the evidence linked to Khashoggi’s death.
“[A] rigorous, international investigation [is] urgently needed to examine evidence, clarify circumstances surrounding death of Jamal Khashoggi,” Tajani said in a post on Twitter.
Regional allies praise Saudi’s response to ongoing Khashoggi probe
Saudi Arabia’s allies in the Middle East rallied behind the kingdom over its response to the ongoing investigation into the killing of Saudi writer and critic Khashoggi.
Egypt praised Saudi’s King Salman for taking “decisive” action over the killing of dissident Saudi journalist Khashoggi.
On Saturday, Saudi state media reported that King Salman had ordered the formation of a ministerial committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, to restructure the Kingdom’s intelligence services.
“Egypt sees that the brave and decisive decisions and actions taken by the Saudi King over this matter align with his majesty’s approach that respects the principles of law and applications of effective justice,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry offered its condolences to Khashoggi’s family and said it was confident the ongoing probe into his death would reveal the truth.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also voiced support for Saudi’s King Salman and commended his “directives and decisions … on the issue of Kashoggi”, UAE’s state-run WAM news agency reported.
Bahrain, meanwhile, said in an official statement that Saudi Arabia “will remain a state of justice, value and principles”, the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV network reported.
Saudi pressured into releasing initial results – AK Party’s human rights head
Saudi Arabia had no choice but to reveal preliminary results from an investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance and alleged murder because of evidence gathered by Turkish officials, the head of human rights for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said in a statement.
Further evidence will be released soon, Layla Sahin Usta said, as a Turkish-led probe into the 59-year-old’s fate remains ongoing against a backdrop of widespread skepticism over Saudi’s version of events.
On Saturday, Saudi state media reported Khashoggi was killed in a “fist-fight” with the Kingdom’s officials inside its consulate in the Turkish city of Istanbul.
The announcement marked a U-turn from the Kingdom, which had previously denied the 60-year-old died inside the building.
Britain considering ‘next steps’ following Saudi Arabia confession over Khashoggi killing
Britain is considering its “next steps” following Saudi Arabia’s admission over the killing of Khashoggi within the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, the UK’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
“We send our condolences to Jamal Khashoggi’s family after this confirmation of his death. We are considering the Saudi report and our next steps,” the statement said.
“As the Foreign Secretary has said, this was a terrible act and those responsible must be held to account,” the statement added.
The UK’s main opposition Labour party has called on the governing Conservative Party to suspend arms sales to the kingdom.
Khashoggi case ‘most serious’ diplomatic crisis faced by Saudi since 9/11 – analyst
Marwan Kabalan, director of policy and analysis at the Doha-based Arab Center for Research & Policy Studies, said the uproar sparked by the killing of Khashoggi has posed the “most serious diplomatic crisis for Saudi Arabia since September 11 ”.
“The [Saudi’s] story will not be convincing to many people; it’s very difficult to believe the hit squad that arrived in Istanbul came to have a discussion with Khashoggi,” Kabalan told Al Jazeera.
“I think with the help of their friends in Washington – I’m talking about President Donald Trump, who is trying to provide them with an exit and way out – they may think that they are close to closing this case,” he added.
“But I don’t think so because it very much depends on whether the Turks are going to accept this [Saudi] story. The Turks [may] have their own version of what happened in the consulate.”
Former CIA intelligence officer: Saudi account is ‘foolish’
Former CIA intelligence officer Glenn Carle told Al Jazeera the “absurdity of the crumbling cover stories” would bring a smile to the face of anyone paying attention.
The newest account, in which Khashoggi died during a fight with consulate officials, was right to draw ire, Carle said.
“As though a 59 or 60-year-old man would walk into a consulate … and pick a fight with 15 thugs. I don’t think so. So the story is foolish.”
Carle said Trump’s statements affirming that he believes the Saudi account of what happened were “stupid and offensive” but “characteristic”.
“Trump has clearly been accepting whatever the Saudis say “in order to maintain relations”, Carle concluded.
Here’s how the world reacted to Saudi Arabia’s announcement confirming Jamal Khashoggi was killed in its consulate in Istanbul.
Major General Ahmed Al-Asiri was sacked as Saudi Arabia’s deputy intelligence chief on Friday, Saudi state media reported.
Al-Asiri has served as an adviser to bin Salman, who promoted him to his intelligence position last year, and is considered to be one of MBS’ closest aides.
He is “a key figure within the royal household, a very senior figure,” Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reported from Istanbul, following the announcement. “He has been fingered by the royal household as being partly to blame for this.”
Saudi Arabia pays UK firms millions to boost image: Guardian
Saudi Arabia has been paying UK firms million of pounds to help improve the kingdom’s image in recent years, a Guardian investigation found on Friday.
Saudi Arabia’s reputation has been hit hard in recent years due to its record on human rights and its role in the war in Yemen, but especially following the killing of Washington Post journalist Khashoggi.
Firms that have worked to boost Saudi Arabia’s image include PR agency Freud’s – which is now distancing itself from the kingdom; the London office of online publisher Vice which has been working on a series of films to promote Saudi Arabia; the Independent, which established a partnership with a Saudi publisher with close links to the Saudi government; and the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.
A Saudi publishing company that is signing partnerships with western media firms donated to the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in exchange for his advice for Saudi Arabia, the Guardian reported.
Trump wants to protect arms sale to Saudi Arabia
US President Donald Trump says he’d prefer “some form of sanction” on Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi’s death, but added that he wants to protect arms sale.
Trump says he doesn’t think Saudi leadership lied to him
US President Donald Trump told reporters that he doesn’t think the Saudi leadership lied to him when they denied Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.
Trump said he will speak to the Saudi crown prince.
Trump: Saudi announcement on Khashoggi ‘good first step’
US President Donald Trump said Saudi Arabia’s announcement on Saturday confirming Jamal Khashoggi’s death is a “good first step, a big step”.
Trump said what happened to Khashoggi is “unacceptable”, adding however, that he thinks Saudi Arabia’s explanation was credible.
MBS had no knowledge of ‘specific’ Khashoggi operation: Reuters source
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had no knowledge of the specific operation that resulted in the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, a Saudi official familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday.
“There were no orders for them to kill him or even specifically kidnap him,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity and adding that there was a standing order to bring critics of the kingdom back to the country.
“MBS had no knowledge of this specific operation and certainly did not order a kidnapping or murder of anybody. He will have been aware of the general instruction to tell people to come back,” the source said, using the initials of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The source said the whereabouts of Khashoggi’s body were unclear after it was handed over to a “local cooperator” but there was no sign of it at the consulate.
US congressman: Saudi explanation ‘not credible’
A high-ranking Democratic US congressman is expressing doubts about the credibility of Saudi Arabia’s explanation that Jamal Khashoggi was killed in a fight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
California Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, said Friday that Saudi Arabia’s claim that he was “killed while brawling with a team of more than a dozen dispatched from Saudi Arabia is not credible”.
Schiff says that if Khashoggi was fighting inside the consulate, he was “fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him”.
He says if Trump’s Republican administration won’t hold Saudi Arabia accountable for Khashoggi’s death, Congress will.
UN chief ‘deeply troubled’ by confirmation of journalist’s death
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is “deeply troubled” by the confirmation of Jamal Khashoggi, a UN spokesman said.
The spokesman added that Guterres “stresses the need for a prompt, thorough and transparent investigation” into the circumstances surrounding Khashoggi’s death.
US Senator Menendez: ‘Global Magnitsky Act doesn’t have exceptions’
Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said on Twitter: “We have proven that international pressure can succeed. Our united outrage clearly factored into the Saudi gov’s calculated admission”.
The senator, who is the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was part of a group of senators who triggered the Magnitsky Act earlier this month, which requires the US president to determine whether Khashoggi’s rights were violated and whether to impose targeted sanctions.
Following the news of Saudi Arabia’s confirmation, Menendez said: The Global Magnitsky Act doesn’t have exceptions for accidents. Even if Khashoggi died because of an altercation, that’s no excuse for his murder.
The White House acknowledged in a statement the Saudi announcement on the investigation of Khashoggi’s death.
“We are saddened to hear confirmation of Mr. Khashoggi’s death, and we offer our deepest condolences to his family, fiance and friends,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.
She added that the US will continue to closely follow the international investigations into the incident and “advocate for justice that is timely, transparent and in accordance with all due process”.
US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been outspoken on Khashoggi’s disappearance, tweeted: “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr Khashoggi is an understatement.”
Saudi King orders formation of committee headed by crown prince
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has ordered the restructuring of the command of the general intelligence agency under the supervision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the official Saudi press agency said on Saturday.
The agency added the order also included updating regulations, determining the agency’s powers, and evaluating its methods and procedures. The committee, according to the King’s order, should report to the King within a month.
‘Kingdom expresses its deep regret’ over Khashoggi’s killing
Saudi state-run news agency says “the kingdom expresses its deep regret” over the slaying of writer Jamal Khashoggi.
Saudi king to restructure kingdom’s intelligence services
Saudi King Salman has proposal to restructure kingdom’s intelligence services after Khashoggi killing, state media reported.
18 Saudi nationals arrested over Khashoggi’s death
A statement from the Saudi public prosecutor said a fight broke out between Khashoggi and people who met him in the consulate and led to his death.
“The investigations are still underway and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested,” the statement on state media said
The Saudi kingdom fired royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani and deputy intelligence chief Ahmed Asiri, state media said.
Saudi Arabia said on Saturday preliminary results of investigations showed US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi died in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul after a fight with people he met there, state media reported.
Friday, October 19
Saudi investment summit to go ahead with new programme
Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative, dubbed “Davos in the Desert”, will go ahead later this month with an updated programme that includes heads of state from the Arab world, Africa and Asia, according to a conference spokeseperson.
The spokesperson added that the conference will include “business leaders, investors and innovators from across the world”.
A string of Western executives have pulled out of Riyadh’s Future Investment Initiative conference in the wake of Khashoggi’s disappearance.
Pompeo: ‘Wide range’ of US responses if Saudis behind journalist death
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned of a “wide range” of responses should Washington determine that Saudi Arabia is behind the disappearance and apparent death of Khashoggi.
“We’ll certainly consider a wide range of potential responses, but I think the important thing to do is that the facts come out,” Pompeo told Voice of America radio.
The United States is Saudi Arabia’s biggest backer and the feared murder of Khashoggi has presented President Donald Trump with one of the most acute foreign policy crises of his nearly two-year-old presidency.
Trump: Pompeo wasn’t shown purported recording of Khashoggi killing
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has not seen or heard any purported recordings from the Saudi consulate in Turkey, President Donald Trump said in a tweet.
Both Pompeo and Turkey’s foreign ministry dismissed media reports that said Ankara had shared audio recordings from the ongoing investigation.
Companies that have dropped out of Saudi investment summit so far
Foreign direct investment in Saudi Arabia had already fallen to historically low levels before Khashoggi went missing.
But since the allegations of his murder, many multinational companies and individuals say they are not going to a Saudi investment summit due to be held in Riyadh next week.
Find out more by watching the video below.
Ex- UK intelligence chief: ‘Khashoggi probably killed on order of people close to MBS’
A former head of Britain’s MI6 spy agency said Khashoggi was probably killed on the orders of people close to Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
John Sawers, who headed MI6 between 2009 and 2014, told the BBC that “all the evidence points to it being ordered and carried out” by people close to Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler.
“I don’t think he would have done this if he hadn’t thought he had license from the U.S. administration to frankly behave as he wished to do so,” he said.
Sawyers said Khashoggi’s disappearance was a wake-up call to the Trump administration about “just how dangerous it is to have people acting with a sense that they have impunity in their relationship with the United States.”
ABB engineering group CEO latest to drop out of investment conference
Swiss engineering group ABB has said Chief Executive Officer Ulrich Spiesshofer will not attend the Future Investment Initiative in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, next week.
Spiesshofer joins other world business and political leaders who have withdrawn amid concern about Khashoggi’s fate. ABB did not give a reason for his decision.
Airbus defence chief Dirk Hoke and Deutsche Bank’s CEO Christian Sewing also dropped out.
Report: ‘King Salman asserts authority, checks son’s power’
Citing five sources close to the Saudi royal family, Reuters news agency reported that King Salman, long absent from the day to day running of the kingdom, has felt compelled to intervene as the Khashoggi crisis deepened.
Since outmanoeuvring his rivals to become Saudi Arabia’s de-facto leader in 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s portfolio of tasks had slowly expanded to include issues such as economic diversification, diplomacy and defence.
This came to a sharp halt with the disappearance of Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The report notes that the king, initially unaware of the Khashoggi crisis, eventually sent his most trusted aide, Prince Khaled al-Faisal, governor of Mecca, to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 11.
“The selection of Khaled, a senior royal with high status, is telling as he is the king’s personal adviser, his right hand man and has very strong ties and a friendship with Erdogan,” Reuters quoted a Saudi source with links to government circles as saying.
One of the sources told Reuters that the king’s unawareness was partly “because [Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman] MBS aides had been directing the king to glowing news about the country on Saudi TV channels”.
“Even if MBS wanted to keep this away from the king he couldn’t because the story about Khashoggi’s disappearance was on all the Arab and Saudi TV channels watched by the king,” another unnamed source said.
“The King started asking aides and MBS about it. MBS had to tell him and asked him to intervene when Khashoggi’s case became a global crisis.”
Turkish probe locates exact site of Khashoggi ‘killing’ – sources
Turkish investigators were able to locate the exact place within the Saudi consulate where Khashoggi was allegedly killed during their search of the building earlier this week, Turkish sources have told Al Jazeera.
The investigators, who used audio recordings of Khashoggi’s alleged murder to guide their search, also confirmed that Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, an autopsy expert, began cutting up the 60-year-old’s body immediately after he was killed, the sources said.
Al Jazeera’s Charles Stratford, reporting from outside the consulate in Istanbul, said the leaks showed Turkish officials were growing “increasingly frustrated with the pace of the investigation”.
“That frustration is now pushing the Turks to release more information and the more information that is being leaked, the more seemingly macabre and shocking it [this case] has become,” Stratford said.
European aerospace giant drops out of Saudi investment conference
European aerospace giant Airbus said the chief of its defence and space division, Dirk Hoke, will not attend Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative conference, scheduled to begin in Riyadh on October 23.
“A guideline has been issued to abstain from high profile engagements at this point in time. However, we believe it is important to maintain engagement and dialogue in a country which hosts about 1,000 of our employees,” a spokesman said.
Hoke’s pull out marks the latest high-profile business boycott of the event, widely dubbed “Davos in the Desert”, as international scrutiny and media focus on Saudi Arabia continues to escalate following the disappearance of Saudi writer and critic Jamal Khashoggi.
On Thursday, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced he would not attend after talks with US President Donald Trump.
Turkish foreign minister denies sharing audio recordings with Washington
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has dismissed reports Ankara shared audio recordings documenting the alleged murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi with the United States, according to Reuters news agency.
On Thursday, reports suggested Turkish officials had provided US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with a recording indicating Khashoggi was killed by Saudi operatives after entering the Kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul earlier this month.
Cavusoglu also said Turkey has evidence and information obtained from its ongoing investigation into Khashoggi’s disappearance on October 2, and will share the results of the probe “transparently” with the world.
British Foreign Secretary: UK to take ‘considered’ response to results of Khashoggi probe
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the UK government will take a “considered” response to any results that emerge from the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Khashoggi.
He also warned that allegations the Saudi writer and critic was brutally murdered would be totally unacceptable if proven to be true.
“Part of our reaction will depend on the Saudi reaction, and whether we sense that they are taking it as seriously as we are taking it. But this is a very, very serious matter,” Hunt told the BBC.
“Our relationship with Saudi is a strategic relationship as well. Our response will be considered … [but] in the end, if these stories are true, we have to be absolutely clear, it would not be consistent with our values.”
Source: Al Jezeera